Fifteen Newark Students Earn Prestigious QuestBridge Scholarships

North Star Academy in Newark had a record seven graduating seniors who will receive full scholarships through the prestigious QuestBridge National College Match program to attend some of the nation’s most competitive colleges.  North Star had the highest number of QuestBridge recipients among all Newark high schools. More than 20,800 students from across the country … Continued

Governor Murphy is right to focus on literacy | Opinion

By Juliana Worrell Juliana Worrell, Uncommon Schools’ Chief Schools Officer K-8, advocates for strong literacy instruction using the principles of the science of reading. Read this op-ed as it originally appeared on January 20, 2024 in NJ Star-Ledger. (Subscription may be required.) In his State of the State message, Gov. Phil Murphy called for introducing … Continued

North Star’s Mike Taubman: What a moral philosophy course offers high school students

Nov 2, 2023 At the 50th anniversary of Stanford University’s Structured Liberal Education (SLE) seminar, North Star teacher and Stanford graduate Mike Taubman gave a lecture on “Searching Together for the Common Good” and talked about transposing this course to the high school environment. “The first aspect of SLE’s culture that is powerful for high … Continued

Newark High School Student Testifies in Trenton for Charter School Facilities Funding

By TAPinto Newark Staff Report | Last Updated April 20, 2023  Corey Madison, a senior at North Star Academy, is making his voice heard. Saying he believed that his school and other public charter schools were being treated unfairly, Madison testified before the New Jersey state assembly budget committee. Check out his testimony here: Read … Continued

Jody Jones discusses leadership with the Accelerate Institute

March 9, 2023 / Accelerate Institute News In 2018, Uncommon Schools’ Jody Jones won the prestigious Ryan Award for her transformational leadership as Principal at North Star Academy, where she helped lead students to meet or surpass in-state testing expectations compared to other New Jersey school districts. Five years later, Jones, now Uncommon’s Senior Director of School … Continued

Schools must focus on reading in 2023 to close the COVID learning gap

By Paula White | Feb. 18, 2023 The fact is that quality literacy instruction is the linchpin variable for our children’s learning. For 2023, let’s give it the focus and boost it deserves. Read more on

All students deserve to grapple with the hard truth

By Art Worrell | Feb 13. 2023 In this op-ed by Art Worrell, director of history instruction at Uncommon Schools, Worrell says history is messy. But by embracing that messiness, we come to understand our world and what it means to be human. Read more on

My career choice surprises people

By Dashawn Sheffield | Feb. 7, 2023 North Star Academy student Dashawn Sheffield knows that he can be a force for good — even though his dream career, which carries negative stereotypes — surprises people. Read more at Chalkbeat

Newark High School Students Fight for Menstrual Equity

Students at Uncommon Newark are taking menstrual equity into their own hands. New Jersey schools are not required to provide female sanitary products, but a student-led club at North Star is fighting to make them available. The club started almost two years ago when students managed to get a company to donate hygiene product dispensers … Continued

A call to teach now more than ever

By Brett Peiser In this New York Daily News Op-Ed, Uncommon Schools’ co-CEO Brett Peiser acknowledges how hard the past two-and-a-half years have been on teachers, but he also knows that students and families need teachers now more than ever. Read this story as it originally appeared on October 17, 2022 in New York Daily … Continued

North Star’s Samuel Bendinelli Nominated for Chalkbeat’s Abbott Elementary Inspired Poll

Celebrating the success of “Abbott Elementary,” a wildly popular television sitcom centered on an optimistic Philadelphia school teacher, Chalkbeat asked readers to nominate teachers who are their real-life versions of “Mrs. Howard” — teachers who continuously demonstrated dedication and caring during the pandemic. North Star’s WPHS Samuel Bendinelli was nominated by one of his former … Continued

Recovering From Remote Learning’s Shortfalls

Millions of students have not caught up academically after remote learning, and Uncommon Schools is making up for that. Fairmount Elementary Principal, Tameka Royal, uses pep rallies to increase enthusiasm for learning with her students. “Always stand up and always speak out. There is no substitute for in-person learning,” says Royal. The school is utilizing … Continued

North Star Academy Graduates Celebrate the Coming Journey

By TAPINTO NEWARK |Published May 31, 2022 at 6:43 PM Growing up in Newark’s South Ward, Devia’N Parker Rogers had a lot of pets  – dogs, turtles, fish. “I was always really excited to be around animals,” Parker Rogers said. “I was really shy around other people socially and kind of introverted, so I really … Continued

13 Uncommon Seniors Receive QuestBridge Scholarships to Top Schools

Please join us in congratulating Uncommon’s QuestBridge Scholars! Thirteen seniors from Uncommon’s network in New Jersey, Rochester, and Brooklyn have accepted their QuestBridge matches and will receive full four-year scholarships to 9 colleges and universities, including Wellesley and Yale. We are so proud of these graduating seniors and the work they have done to achieve … Continued

Chalkbeat NY: Parents, Educators Emphasize Need for Mental Health Supports

TAPinto Newark: Schools Get Students Excited for Back to School ‘BBQ for a Cause’ Celebrates Newark

Chalkbeat: North Star Students Launch Wellness Council

TAPinto: North Star Academy Class of 2021 Celebrates Graduation

TAPinto Newark: Students Celebrate College Acceptances After a Year of Uncertainty

As if the pandemic itself wasn’t challenging enough, twins Joan and Judith Jatto just moved to Newark from Nigeria in 2018 and enrolled at North Star Academy Lincoln Park High School as 11th graders. Despite the challenges, however, the twins have thrived—from starting an Afro beat dance club at school to going to Colgate and … Continued

Chalkbeat: Newark Classrooms Reopen

North Star Academy Recognized in Stanford University’s 2021 CREDO Study

Bloomberg: Uncommon Students Remain a Priority Beyond HS Graduation

Uncommon Sense: An Instructional Blog for Educators by Educators

Uncommon Schools has a history of collaborating with local school districts and sharing resources through in-person professional development trainings, online workshops, and multiple best-selling books. Why? Because we believe that every child deserves a great education. Why a Blog? The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink our traditional sharing avenues, but being confined to … Continued

TapInto Newark: An Alumnus Returns to His Alma Mater to Teach

TapInto Newark: Newark Charters Release Standards for Reopening Schools

North Star Academy Seniors Celebrate with Drive-Thru Graduation

There are no limits to the creative ways we celebrate our students’ successes. In Newark, NJ, more than 200 seniors graduated from North Star Academy Washington Park and Lincoln Park high schools. While we couldn’t hold a traditional graduation ceremony, staff, families, and students got together to celebrate how they could: a drive-through graduation. As … Continued

North Star Academy, Newark Charters Plan for Remote Start to School Year

Whether schools will start the new year remotely or in person is on everyone’s minds. In Newark, NJ, the city’s largest charter school networks, including North Star Academy, are planning to start remotely. In-person learning will resume only when it’s been deemed safe to do so. According to Chalkbeat Newark, it’s unclear whether Gov. Murphy … Continued

North Star Principal Joins Panel Discussion on School Reopening

Tameka Royal, a Principal at Uncommon Schools North Star Academy, participated in a national discussion about what school will look like for the 2020-2021 school year. It’s a hot topic among educators as they look to balance the health risks of COVID-19 exposure with the challenges of remote learning. As reported by TapintoNewark, Royal joined … Continued

The 74: Researchers Find Top Results for Newark, Boston, Pittsburgh

A Letter to the Uncommon Community

Dear Uncommon Schools Community, A few weeks ago, after we chose to close Uncommon Schools for a day to allow our community to process in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, I wrote an essay about how our charter school network was founded to battle racism and advance social justice. Since writing that … Continued

NJ Latino News: High School Seniors Awarded $75,000 in Scholarships

Juneteenth: A Reflection

My Uncommon Family— I am truly thankful for the opportunity to write to you on this day: June 19, 2020. As I write this, monuments of history told from a single story are coming down all over the world, as people refuse to continue to accept a single version, a single truth, a single lens … Continued

Op-Ed: We Were Founded to Battle Racism and Injustice

In an op-ed for The 74 Million, Uncommon Schools President Julie Jackson explains why the Uncommon Schools network shut down for a day. “With protests erupting across the country, with our own staff and families and students participating, with countless conversations happening about the toll these events were taking on us personally, it became clear … Continued

Uncommon Schools to Close for Mental Health Day on June 1

Uncommon Schools is taking an organization-wide mental health day June 1, 2020 for the sake of our community. Like you, we spent the weekend watching, reading, grieving, raging, reflecting, and marching. We spent the weekend trying to explain to our own children what was going on, as we tried to explain it to ourselves. As … Continued

North Star Student Uses Sewing Skills to Make Masks for Health Care Workers

North Star Academy student Darius Brown has been using his sewing skills to help animals get adopted. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, however, he’s shifted his focus. According to local news outlets and, Darius shifted production from pet accessories to face masks for frontline health workers.

The Making of the ‘Together, We are Here’ Video

via TapInto Newark Performing Arts teachers at Uncommon North Star Academy and Camden Prep created a musical video in which they sing about Uncommon’s mission. The video is just one of a handful of ways that our teachers are reaching out to their students during on-going social distancing and stay-at-home orders as a result of … Continued

Together, We are Here

One Mission, One Vision. We may be separated from one another during this pandemic, but we are together in one purpose. With joy and love, our teachers continue to show their commitment to their students and families. North Star Academy and Camden Prep performing arts teachers created this video, singing out our mission to get … Continued

One Teacher’s Perspective on Uncommon’s Demands on Students and Teachers

When Mike Taubman was studying to become a teacher, he didn’t buy the anti-charter school sentiment. As an undergraduate, he interned at Uncommon Schools and now, at 39, is in his 15th year at the network and thriving. Many teachers at charter schools, like Taubman, are willing to work the long hours because, writes Jay … Continued

Making Remote Learning Easier and Engaging

Many educators across the country are navigating a huge challenge: how to keep students learning while away from school during the coronavirus pandemic. As Juliana Worrell notes in an op-ed for The 74, we created a remote learning platform that we believe will keep K-8 students learning until we’re able to return to classrooms. We … Continued

North Star Academy Transitions to Online Learning

When schools closed at the end of March 13, students in K-8 at North Star Academy were sent home with paper-based remote learning packets so they could continue practicing previously learned materials. For the high school students, time was of the essence. The Advanced Placement Exams were just a few weeks away, and almost all … Continued

Uncommon Schools Launches Virtual K8 Program

No one knew how much the coronavirus pandemic would impact K-12 learning. Schools, including Uncommon Schools, initially made sure their students had enough learning packets and assignments for about two weeks. It quickly became apparent that more was needed. Starting March 30, every Uncommon student will be on a virtual school program with daily lessons … Continued

Literacy Nonprofit Donates Books to Children in Need During Pandemic

A Freeport-based nonprofit, The Book Fairies, donated more than 11,000 books so children can keep reading during the coronavirus pandemic. Educators approached the organization about books to send home to students. In response, Book Fairies temporarily opened its headquarters for scheduled pick-ups. Natasha Cherry-Perez, Senior Associate Director of Community Engagement, went to pick up books … Continued

3 Guiding Principles for Our Transition to Remote Learning

Days after we closed all of our school, Uncommon opened back up as a remote learning organization. In New York City alone we were serving nearly 10,000 students in their homes. Our teachers and staff scrambled to survey families about their Internet capabilities, became couriers to get equipment to families, and made wellness calls to … Continued

North Star Academy Boy’s Varsity Basketball Plays for State Title

North Star Academy Boy’s Varsity Basketball (No. 15 seed) is advancing to play for the state title after ousting Madison (No. 10 seed) 52-46 in the North 2 Group 2 tournament on March 5. The North Star Academy Knights will be playing against the No. 1 seed Hackettstown on March 10 for an attempt to … Continued

Uncommon School Leaders Attend TFA School Leaders of Color Conference

Seven hundred school leaders of color — including over 10 from Uncommon — gathered in Las Vegas on February 7 for Teach for America’s annual conference. This year, the focus was on resilient leadership and providing school leaders with inspiration and motivation to continue the work of supporting young people of color in achieving their … Continued

WPHS Speech Team Take Home Big Wins at Tournament

Congratulations to North Star Academy Washington Park and Lincoln Park High Schools’ Speech Team for their recent wins at the 45th Penn Tournament. For the first time in the team’s history, every student who competed advanced to an elimination round. Semifinalists: Duo Interpretation: Michael Torto and Sarah Ramberran Oral Interpretation: Abigail Nicholas Dramatic Interpretation: Precious … Continued

North Star Student Awarded NJ’s Top Youth Volunteer of 2020

Darius Brown, a middle school student at North Star Academy, was named New Jersey’s top youth volunteer of 2020. The recognition comes from The Prudential Spirit Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for their exceptional volunteer work. As an honoree, Darius will receive $1,000, and will attend an event in Washington, D.C. with … Continued

2,550 Strong — We are One Uncommon

In 1997, we began as a single school in Newark, New Jersey. To that founding class of 72 students and their families we made a promise. A promise to provide them with an outstanding education that prepares them to graduate from college and achieve their dreams. Our steadfastness and commitment to that promise has allowed … Continued

Report: Newark Students Enrolled in Charter Schools See Improvements in Math and Reading Scores

The Manhattan Institute released a new report on the effects enrolling in a charter school has on student standardized test scores in Newark, New Jersey. Among its major findings, the report suggests that attending a Newark charter school that participated in the city’s common enrollment system led to large improvements in students’ math and reading … Continued